St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School

Live Love and learn joyfully together through Jesus and his church

Children at the Playground

Head’s Blog

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Ms Nicola Kane

Head Teacher

Sunday 24th December 2017

Christmas Cheer @#CCF2017

Each year, the Christmas Craft Fayre develops and improves, as we build on the successes of the previous year and continually ‘tweek’ the process.  So, it was wonderful to see that CCF2017 was such a triumph! 

The children are now so well-versed in the process that they immediately roll out their ‘Apprentice’ style patter.  It is testament to how honed their persuasive skills are that Year 6 managed to persuade me to part with all my money before 9.30am!  Having replenished my purse, I found that each and every stall had equally compelling arguments and I was convinced to buy at least one of everything! 

It was genuinely wonderful to see the children putting the skills they have learnt in literacy, into work in real life – this is what a cross-curricular and practical approach to learning is all about – making it real!  Some entrepreneurial souls even managed to persuade me to buy more than one item, offering an extra discount on account of my role as Head – the promised 10% discount was duly calculated (in their heads) and deducted from the overall cost.  If that isn’t an example of maths problem solving, I don’t know what is!

The highlight of the whole experience for me was watching the children perform the carols they had been learning over the weeks leading up to the event.  We are blessed to have had Mr Marseglia lead our music lessons, linking the carols to the music objectives which each year group needs to cover.  His expertise and experience were invaluable in enabling the children to showcase their talents!  It was wonderful to watch their joy when performing for their families.

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Christmas Break

The Autumn Term is always an exciting one, but can also be challenging.  The days get shorter, we are all plagued by Winter bugs, the children get progressively more excited and the adults get progressively more tired and stressed in the run up to Christmas!  However, for us, this is a most special season.  Advent is our time of preparation, not for the festivities, but for the birth of Christ.  In all the bustle it can be easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas.  Please make sure you take time to pray, to reflect and to appreciate the time with your families. 

As last Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the homily at my local church was based around what brings true joy to our lives.  Walking out of Church I chatted to a lovely lady who I sit next to every week at Mass.  She had just moved out of her home of 58 years, into a small, ground floor flat, which was more suited to her needs as an elderly lady.  This was a very emotional time for her – leaving years worth of memories behind.  However, what struck me the most was that she was overjoyed to discover she had lovely neighbours.  What had brought her such joy, in the midst of a challenging, lonely time, was the welcome she had received from these strangers – they had invited her in for a cup of tea.  Such a small thing to do, yet such a gift to Mary – the impact was to make her feel loved and accepted.  This Christmas, as Year 4 Alphonsa reminded us through their wonderful ‘gift a box’ donation, we need to think about those less fortunate in our society.  Let us try to reach out to them and bring the true spirit of Christmas into their lives.

 For anyone looking for some thought-provoking spiritual nourishment, I cannot recommend Deacon Quinn’s blog highly enough.  It is always clear, inspiring and relevant to our day to day lives: 

Tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of Christ, in our Church and in our homes, with those we love.  I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas – one filled with true joy.  I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful school community.

With love on behalf of the family of St Catherine’s,

Ms Kane

Mike Pargeter - Chair of Governors' Blog

The last half term seems to have flown by, with several committee meetings and a Full Governing Board. There was much debate over the government’s decision to double our Sports Premium funding. A nice problem to have, you might think! However the school leaders needed to formulate a plan for this unexpected bonus to further improve the quality of PE and sport in the school; and the governors needed to fulfil their role of providing challenge to ensure the money is well spent and has the best chance of delivering the expected outcome. The difficulty is doing all this in a short timeframe – leaving it until the summer is not an option because then there isn’t enough time left in the year to make a difference! We are excited by the plans, and look forward to seeing them implemented next term.

A highlight of this half term was the Diocese of Westminster’s annual Governor Day. Cardinal Nichols spoke inspiringly about the mission of Catholic schools, and there were presentations from the National Governance Association, and an experienced chair of three governing boards. These provided much practical advice, and we are looking to take on board several suggestions to improve our own governance.

Another highlight was meeting the Junior Leadership Team to talk about governance, hear their ideas, and answer some very tough questions! They are great ambassadors for the school and it’s wonderful to see the commitment they have to their new role.

Governors have enjoyed attending the recent race night and carol concert organised by the new PTA team, and we would like to express our thanks for all they are doing to raise funds for the benefit of the children. This of course would not be possible without parents supporting the events, and it was fantastic to see so many people coming along to them, as well as supporting the Christmas Craft Fayre

Finally on behalf of the Governing Board I would like to wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Wednesday 13th December 2017

We have been so excited to welcome some new additions to our St Catherine’s Farm Family…. Five gorgeous little chicks! Reception and Year 2 looked after their eggs very carefully, talking to them and giving them lots of love and were rewarded by watching the eggs hatch. Currently in residence in our library, the chicks are being looked after by our Farm Rangers.

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Farm Rangers

Following a rigorous selection process, involving an application and interview, we were delighted to appoint our Year 5 and 6 Farm Rangers. Charged with feeding, cleaning out and generally looking after the animals and our farm area, these hardworking pupils have been undergoing weekly training. We have been astonished by the way they have stepped up to the role, showing incredible maturity, common sense and practical skills – they really have been an asset to the school. Well done Farm Rangers!! After Christmas we will be appointing Farm Managers to lead the Rangers. In the Summer Term we will also be seeking some Apprentice Rangers, who will work alongside the Rangers, being trained for the future.

Holiday Rangers

At the weekends, our Farm Family are currently being looked after by Mrs Robinson, Mrs Wildey, Mr Atherton, Mrs Griffin (and family) and myself. However, we would love to have members of the community join in the fun! It would be wonderful if families could volunteer to look after the animals one day each (or more!). The tasks include letting out the chickens, feeding the chickens and rabbits and then returning later in the day to put the chickens back to ‘bed’ and ensuring the rabbits and chickens have their evening meal! The occasional mucking out is also appreciated! We will provide any volunteers with a gate key and instructions on how to feed/look after the animals. If you would like to help over the Christmas holidays, please email the school office with your availability and I will get back to you with further details.

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Snow Day

Despite weather warnings, the recent heavy snow still took most of us by surprise! We always endeavour to keep the school open whenever possible, however, sometimes the health and safety risks mean that it is not possible. It was lovely to receive such positive comments from many parents on the way that we dealt with the school closure and the communication surrounding the bad weather. As you are aware, we have been really focusing on improving our communication so it is wonderful when parents take the time to give us feedback on what has worked well – we can use this to continue to build and improve.

I would also like to reiterate my thanks to Mrs Robinson, Mr Dommett, Mrs Wildey (and family), Mrs Griffin (and family) and Mr Atherton for joining me in school on Sunday, Monday and the early hours of Tuesday morning to feed the animals, shovel snow and grit pathways. Without these joint efforts, it would not have been possible to reopen on Tuesday. In a small school, the willingness of staff to all pull together and take on multiple and varied roles is essential – we are blessed that all our staff are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the smooth running of the school. As well as those staff I have named, I would also like to thank all the staff for braving the elements and treacherous travelling conditions to get into school on Tuesday. Finally, I would like to thank you for working with us to ensure such a smooth transition at drop-off and collection time.

Christmas Craft Fayre

The unexpected snow day has left us with less time to prepare for the CCF 2017 than we had planned. Thankfully, our ‘little elves’ have been working hard to catch up. Take a look our Twitter to see all of the wonderful learning (and mass prodeuction) the children have been doing.

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Miss Kane's Award Board

Congratulations to the following pupils who were sent to me for outstanding work over the past two weeks:

Bella, Hannah, Lucy G, Sam W (Y2) Joseph, Olivia, Ben (Y5), Ryan, Dylan R, Aliabbas (Y3), Leah, Samara(Y3),Tiana, Nella (EYFS), Sam R, Harry K, Zahra (Y2) (Y3), Lena, Kristina W, Nina, Luke W, Isabelle, Sophia L, Yasna, Zaeem, Aidan (Y4), Arian, Gabby, Layla, Alexi , Summer, Zoe, Julia, Maddie,(Y6)

Well done all!

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Friday 24th November 2017

Mission Statement

Our existing Mission Statement, ‘To live, love and learn joyfully together through Jesus and His Church’ has stood the school in good stead for over twenty years.  However, it is important that as the school develops, our Mission Statement is revisited and is a reflection of our current Mission as Catholic educators.  As a staff and Governing Body, we have been working to articulate our Vision and Mission for the next phase of life at St Catherine’s –as part of this, we have been considering our Mission Statement. 

Our distinctive nature as a Dominican school, with St Catherine of Siena as our patron saint, is integral to our identity.  Our vision for the school is to be one which promotes the formation and flourishing of the whole person and prepares our pupils for life in the rapidly changing and multi-cultural society in which we live.  We want to enable our children to develop into the person they were meant to be and then use their skills, talents, knowledge and experience as agents of social change, for the Common Good.  With this in mind, St Catherine of Siena’s famous command of, ‘Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire’ encapsulates our Mission as a school.  Therefore, over the next few weeks we will be seeking feedback from pupils and parents on this as our new Mission Statement. Please do let us know your thoughts on this.

Christmas Craft Fayre (CCF)

It’s that time again…the build up to the Christmas Craft Fayre! We hope that CCF2018 will be bigger and better than ever, with amazing cross-curricular learning opportunities and a chance for community collaboration. This year, we will be opening our doors from 8am to 3pm on Friday 15th December for one day only!

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Your support over previous years has been incredible, so we hope that many of you will be able to come along, see the fantastic work the children have produced and spend money in aid of a good cause.   It would be wonderful if even more members of the wider community were able to join us this year.  Christmas is a time when many older people experience great loneliness – this is a chance for us to reach out to them and spread some joy.  The children will be singing carols and we will again be offering a free lunch, tea and mince-pie to all over 65s.  Please do invite your neighbours, friends, or anyone else that you think would enjoy the opportunity to join in the festive fun! 

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Saturday 11th November 2017

The last two weeks have been very busy at St Catherine’s, with lots of exciting things to report.   The children returned after half-term refreshed and ready to learn.  Year 6 have really stepped up to the responsibility of being at the top of the school, managing to balance their various jobs and responsibilities with the academic rigours of the year.  It was wonderful to see the seriousness with which they approached their first ‘mock SATs’ assessments – they took the opportunity to really show what they have learnt.  Their growth mindsets, perseverance and determination exemplified the attitudes we are seeking to foster at St Catherine’s – it isn’t about the score they achieved, it’s about the effort they put in and the progress they have made.  Well done to them all!

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The Golden Mile

Having carried out pupil voice surveys earlier in the year, we were aware that not all our pupils were achieving the recommended hour of physical exercise a day (half an hour in school, half an hour out of school).  As such, we have been considering how best to utilise the government funding (PE and Sports Premium) to increase physical activity. 

The Golden Mile is an initiative to increase activity which has been introduced in many primary schools – we have been participating in it since half-term.  Each class walks a mile around the school playground at some point during the school day.  The session takes around 15 minutes and is an opportunity for the children to go outside, get fresh air, increase their heart-rate and have a well-deserved chat and break from lessons.  As well as promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Golden Mile also refocuses pupils, aids concentration and supports learning when they come back to class. 

As with any new initiative, we are evaluating the impact and will adjust our approach according to the feedback we have received (from staff, parents and the children).  Over this term we hope to adjust our lunchtime schedule so that our ‘Reading for Pleasure’ session is slightly reduced and classes participate in the Golden Mile together.  Currently, the children are walking their mile, but we hope to move to pupils jogging or running the distance.  This is a chance for all pupils to be more active, but also to improve overall fitness and even introduce a bit of competitive spirit! 

Active Breaktimes & Lunchtimes

Our Pupil Voice Survey confirmed something that we as an SLT suspected – our breaktimes and lunchtimes are a bit boring!!  Feedback was that children would like equipment to play with as well as an area for dance, drama and general performance.  Our JLT completely stepped up to their first leadership responsibility – spending approximately £1,500 on new playgroup equipment to fit the bill!  And when I say spending, I mean spending… Taking into account the views of each class, our JLT sat with Mr Atherton and myself and selected every single piece of equipment which we purchased – it was brilliant to see pupil voice translate into action! 

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Having received a huge delivery of new equipment, we have been phasing it in at lunchtimes over the last week.  Mr Atherton and I spent a very enjoyable lunchtime teaching some of the children how to take part in group, long-rope skipping games.  We hope to spend more time teaching the children traditional and modern games to keep them fit, active and having fun throughout break and lunchtime!  Our Sports Apprentice Mr Fisher will be working with our KS2 children to lead these new playtime sessions.   

Achievement Assembly Winners & Miss Kane's Award Board

So, the bad news is that I now get no paperwork done on a Friday.  The good news is that it is because I am inundated with pupils coming to see me for Headteacher’s Awards!  The staff and I have been astonished by the quality of home-learning and excellence of classwork taking place.  The range of learning evidenced (sculptures, models, Powerpoints, recounts, poems etc.) are such that we need time to take photos, mount work and even do videos to record the astonishing work of our pupils. I have been amazed by the inventiveness and quality of work produced!  Who knew that the digestive system could be so fun?   I can honestly say that the best part of my week is rewarding children for their efforts and even more so when the pupils are receiving their first award.  Well done to you all!! Please look back next week to see your names in print!

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Our incredible Teaching Assistants generally spend time on a Friday (after the children have left), showcasing the work of our pupils.  This week all staff attended Safeguarding Training on Friday afternoon, so we will have to wait until Monday for my ‘boards of glory’ to materialise.  I will do a new blog next week, giving the names of all Miss Kane’s Award Board winners.  All I’ll say is in the interim is that I am continually astonished by the efforts of our children and you as parents/guardians. 

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Home Learning

The feedback I have received about home-learning (rather than traditional homework) has been overwhelmingly positive.  While many children have totally embraced home-learning, we know some parents require further support or ideas about how to challenge/support their children, so we have added a ‘Home-Learning’ section to the website, under our ‘Parents’ Area’.  Please do have a look at this and give me feedback on my new challenges!

Shining Stars

There have been so many ‘Shining Star’ moments that I need to continue this next week, but some highlights include:

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Year 5 Fun Run

Our children were, yet again, commended for their immaculate behaviour at the recent Fun Run.  As a Head, I know that praise from other teaching professionals is only given when merited.  To hear that our children were ‘exceptional’ affirms everything we know about our incredible pupils.

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The whole of Year 5 did us proud and showed their running prowess against other schools.  However, massive congratulations go to Sam Griffin and Isabella Mash for finishing in the Top 10 in their races!  You did us proud!! We look forward to hearing about their future athletic pursuits #watchoutMoFarah.


The Jan Henney Cup is the pinnacle of recognition for pupils who embody everything we strive for at St Catherine’s.  For those who may not know, the Jan Henney Cup was introduced following the tragic death of a former pupil, Jan Henney.  Jan was a vibrant girl, with a brilliant sense of fun, incredible work-ethic, lovely sense of humour and zest for life.  She embodied everything we strive to nurture in our pupils.   We are so grateful that her parents chose to work with St Catherine’s to celebrate Jan’s memory.

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The Jan Henney Cup is only awarded to those children who have proven to be exceptional – not for a day, or a week, but over time.  Jan was extremely special and the children who receive her cup are equally special.  Congratulations to Sophia Currie and Aimee O’Malley our Jan Henney Cup award winners.

Chair of Governors’ Blog

Your governors have been busy throughout the first half of this term, with the first meetings of each committee and the full Governing Board being typically lengthy, and culminating in our first change of Chair of Governors for nine years.

The admissions committee has been particularly busy, with several meetings to consider in-year applications; we welcome all the new children and their families who have joined the school since September. The committee has also drafted the admissions policy for 2019-20 as a result of revised guidance from the Diocese of Westminster, and this will be be issued for consultation via the Local Authority later this month.

In finance committee we reviewed the end of year accounts and received an update on the building work completed over the summer. In standards committee we had an initial review of the results from last year, and we commend the staff and pupils on their fantastic achievements.

As a Governing Board we fully support the focus on communication and engagement this year, and we hope that sharing some of our work in this medium is helpful in understanding the role of the governors in the running of the school. We will also be asking for feedback to the governors in the near future, and hope that many of you will take the time to respond to this and other parent surveys over the course of the year.

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Monday 23rd October 2017

Community Day

I’m delighted to say that our first Community Day was a huge success. Thank you to the following members of our school community for their input:

  • Alby & Eddie ’s dad (Mr Tyas)
  • Joe & Max’s dad (Mr Pepper)
  • Daniel’s dad (Mr Roman)
  • Skylar’s mum (Ms Atille)
  • Aliabbas & Zahra’s dad (Mr Janmohamed)
  • Luke & Sam’s mum (Mrs Woolls)
  • Bobby’s dad (Mr Reidy)
  • Andrew & Sophia’s dad (Mr Currie) & uncle
  • Aimee’s dad (Mr O’Malley)

It was also wonderful to have Alfie Reidy, Andrew Currie, Luke Woolls and Aliabbas Janmohamed lending a hand alongside their families and the following staff:

  • Mr Atherton
  • Mrs Wildey
  • Mr Wicks
  • Mr Waters
  • Miss Gabriel
  • Miss Smith
  • Miss Dorrian
  • Mr Sitkowski
  • Miss Ellis

And thanks to Mrs Taylor for providing the refreshments! 

It was amazing to see how much could be achieved with willing hands and a positive attitude.  Their combined efforts resulted in the Outdoor Area being truly ready for use as an outdoor classroom during Outdoor Week.  As well as saving the school thousands of pounds, there was a real sense of community spirit and ownership over the project – I hope that this is just the start of wonderful things to come. 

Several people have asked me whether we will be holding another day in future (as they were unable to make this one) – we have many grand plans and would love to have the community involved in bringing them to fruition.  We will add any future dates to the Newsflash section of the website. 

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Outdoor Week

There was a palpable learning buzz everywhere you went this week, as pupils and staff embraced the opportunity to place learning in a practical, real-life context and get outdoors!  There were so many exciting lessons going on that it is hard to single any out – suffice to say that last week demonstrated how exciting cross-curricular learning can be. 

Some of my personal highlights were:

  • EYFS making bird feeders & memory sticks
  • 1 Teresa’s autumn walk
  • 2 Drexel’s tree identification & incredible leaf rubbing pictures
  • 3 Orione & Bakhita finding out about fire safety at Garston Fire Station
  • 4 Alphonsa’s terrifying Roman battle
  • 4 Bosco racing to calculate the age of all the trees on our site
  • 5 Lupita putting maths into context, calculating costs and purchasing ingredients from Sainsbury’s – the resulting soups was delicious (and numerous members of the public commented on their exceptional manners)
  • 6 Tekakwitha combining geography with PE and ICT as they used grid references to complete an orienteering selfie-challenge

That’s without even mentioning the chickens, who tried to get in on the act in every lesson!

One World Celebration

Year 5 Lupita represented St Catherine’s brilliantly at the annual One World Celebration  at St Michael’s School.  A class known for their love of performance, they shone, singing and dancing with verve and passion.  I know that the Year 5 parents and families appreciated the opportunity to watch the performance and share in the delicious pumpkin soup, made by their own fair hands!

Thank you to the pupils of Lupita class, Miss Gabriel, Mrs Waugh and Mrs Wildey for your hard work – you exemplified St Catherine’s message to ‘set the world on fire’!  

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Home-School Open Day

Thank you to those of you who attended our first Home-School Open Day.  It was lovely to have the opportunity to give tours of the school, talk about recent changes and future plans and for you to see what a normal day at St Catherine’s looks like.  The feedback was extremely positive, so we plan to hold many more such days over the coming year. 

Junior Leadership Team (JLT)

One of our exciting new initiatives for 2017-2018 is to replace the School council with a Junior Leadership Team, who will be heavily involved in making decisions about our school.  We were inundated with strong applications, from pupils who exemplify the qualities and attributes we were seeking.  Out of an average of 15/20 applications per class, we shortlisted a few candidates from each class – these represented the children who articulated most clearly the ideas and skills they would bring to the role.  It was a very tough decision, especially as some children had gone ‘above and beyond’ including carrying out surveys, drawing plans and giving detailed suggestions about what how they would improve the school.  We felt it was important that the process was truly done on merit, so a great deal of time was spent going through each application as a Senior Leadership Team.  We initially interviewed our Year 6 pupils, appointing two Head Children and their Deputies.  This group then led the interviews of all other shortlisted candidates.  Our commitment to this being a true collaboration between SLT and JLT meant that the Year 6 members of the JLT had equal voting with myself and Mr Atherton.  We were delighted by the seriousness with which our Year 6 JLT treated the responsibility, as well as their incisive questioning.  

Sadly, there will always be disappointment among those unsuccessful on this occasion.  However, we would encourage them to see this as an opportunity to display resilience – a key attribute, which will stand them in great stead later in life.  

Congratulations to the following pupils:
Year 6

Gabby & Selvin – Head Children

Michal, Maddy & Layla – Deputy Head Children

(We also have one Year 6 pupil to interview after half-term)

Year 5 – Skye

Year 4 Alphonsa – Louie

Year 4 Bosco – Kristina

Year 3 Orione – Gracie

Year 3 Bakhita – Elsie

Year 2 – Angel

In keeping with our meritocratic (rather than gender-based) approach, those appointed were those who persuaded the panel that they were ready for the role. 

Please note that applications for Farm Rangers will be available after half term. We will be applying the same, rigorous approach to appointing for this important job.

Miss Kane’s Award Board

Congratulations to the following pupils who were sent to me for outstanding work over the past two weeks:

Carolina (Year 5), Sam R (Year 2), Alex S (Year 4), Adrian P (Year 2), Caitlin (Year 3O), Luigi & Jayden (Year 4).

Well done!

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Chair of Governors

After many years dedicated service to the school, Mr Paul Quinn has decided to stand down as Chair of Governors.  Throughout his time as Chair, Paul has been instrumental in shaping the direction the school has taken – his vision and leadership have been invaluable in developing and strengthening St Catherine’s.  Some of his most notable contributions have included our conversion to an academy, as part of the Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust (DOWAT) and representing St Catherine’s on the DOWAT Board; changes to our school site, including our expansion and acceptance of bulge classes; revitalising our relationship with Rosary Priory and reaffirming our identity as part of a Dominican tradition (including returning to our Dominican colours); facilitating the creation of a new vision for this phase in the school’s development; helping to strengthen the school-parish partnership and mentoring me as a new Head.

Paul leaves a wonderful legacy as testament to his input to the school over the years.  Whilst his obligations as a Deacon mean that his time and energy are needed elsewhere, we are delighted that he is going to continue as a Governor and will support the staff and children in a different role, promoting our Catholic identity and spirituality as Religious Education link governor. 

We will be thanking Paul formally for his service at a liturgy to be held later in the year.

Mike Pargeter

I am delighted to announce that Mike Pargeter, former Vice Chair of Governors, has stepped forward to take up the mantle as Chair.  Mike has been an asset to the Governing Body for many years and has a wealth of experience, skills and expertise which he brings to the role.  We are confident that his leadership and vision will support the continual development of the school in years to come. 

The role of Chair is an extensive one, which requires a massive commitment in terms of time and energy, so we are very grateful to him for the dedication he has shown to St Catherine’s in putting himself forward for the position.     Mike will be assisted by Vera Woolls, who has taken up the role of Vice Chair.  Thank you to Mike, Vera and the whole Governing Body for their work on behalf of the pupils at St Catherine’s.

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Friday13th October

Miss Kane's Award Board

Congratulations to our new Miss Kane’s Award Board winners!  This week I was inundated with examples of incredible, creative home learning, as well as excellence within the classroom and pupils who have embodied our positive learning behaviours.  Well done to:

Michal (Y6), Sophie, Alyssa, Kristina, Caelia, Luke W & Joshua (Y4B), Patrycia (Y5), Harrison (Y3), Bella (Y2), Jayden (Y3), Alexi (Y6), Stephanie & Eddie (EYFS), Marley & Elsie (Y3), Roberta (Y6), Arian (Y6), Julia, Diogo & Oskar (Y1), Layla (Y6), Sam (Y5), Lucy G (Y2), Ozzie (Y5), Joseph (Y1),  Niamh (Y3), Angelo, Harry, Ana, Louie & Dinil (Y4A).

You should be so proud of what you have achieved! 

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CAFOD Assembly

We were delighted to have CAFOD representatives lead a ‘Brighten Up Your Harvest’ Assembly on Tuesday.  Thank you to those parents who came in to hear about this important cause.  Don’t forget that we will be holding a ‘Bright Clothes Day’ on Friday 3rd November with a suggested £1 donation towards CAFOD’s projects.

School Development Plan Meetings

It was lovely to see many of you at our first School Development Plan and Vision Home-Link Meeting on Tuesday.  We hope that it was helpful and, again, it was extremely useful to hear your views on our ambitious plans for the school. If you were unable to attend this meeting, we are holding another on Wednesday 1st November from 6pm to 7pm (rearranged from 31st October due to clash with Halloween). 

Home Learning

One of our SDP priorities is developing positive learning behaviours, including self-regulation and independence.  In order to help promote pupils taking ownership of their own learning, we have been trialling a ‘Home Learning’ project as an alternative to standard teacher-set homework.  This is an opportunity for your child to take their learning in a direction which interests them, for you to work together as a family and increase enjoyment.  We have been so impressed by the variety and quality of the Home Learning produced.  Thank you for supporting us, and your child, in this new initiative.  We will be carrying out a pupil and parent voice survey after half-term to hear your views. 


Our new PTA have already made plans for events to support the school fund-raising.  In such challenging financial times, with school budgets slashed, this work is more vital than ever.  We hope you will aid them in their efforts, by taking part in as many events as possible.  Please note that there will be a Race Night on Friday 17th November – we are sure that this will be brilliant fun as well as raising lots of money!

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On Thursday we will be holding an Open Day with dedicated time-slots for you to come in, see your child’s class at work and also have a tour of the school and Outdoor Area.  Please email with your preference to reserve one of the following time-slots:

9.30 - 10.30am (parking available on the driveway from 9.15am)

11.00 – 12.00pm (parking available on the driveway)

2.15 – 3.15pm (no parking available on the driveway – please park off-site)

We will also hold an additional session at 4.30-5.30pm for these parents who are not available during the school day.  Although we will make every endeavour to accommodate your time-preference, in the event that group numbers become too large, we will allocate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Don’t worry if you are unable to make Thursday, we will ensure that there are many more opportunities throughout this academic year!

Finally, we look forward to seeing lots of you at our first ‘Community Work Day’ on Sunday between 1pm and 5pm.  Please note, children will be unable to work within the Outdoor Area due to health and safety, however, those old enough to play unsupervised on the field may be brought.  There will be no members of staff available to supervise children as we will all be wielding tools! If childcare is an issue, but you still want to be involved in the event, please do pop along at any time, with your children, to see the work going on. 

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IXL Learning

We have been made aware that there has been an ongoing issue with Mathletics logins this year.  Despite repeated requests to the company, this has still not been rectified. Miss Smith and Mr Wicks have thoroughly investigated various providers and we have come to the decision that  IXL is an excellent resource for children to reinforce their English and Maths learning. We would be grateful if you would log on to a trial at and provide us with your feedback. We hope to have a new programme ready for after half term. Please note – the trial only allows for 10 questions on each activity. This cap would be removed if we fully subscribe. It would also be appreciated if parents of children in EYFS could trial this with their children and feedback to us.

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Friday 29th September

Head Teacher's Awards

There are few parts of my job that are more enjoyable than having the opportunity to praise the hard work of pupils within the school, so last week it was wonderful to have so many children sent to me to receive Head Teacher’s Awards.  Our new corridor contains a display area dedicated to celebrating some of the finest  work produced each week.  The winners of my HT’s Award receive a special sticker, pride of place on our exhibition rails and stand to receive a round of applause at Achievement Assembly.

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So far, well done to:

Julia (Year 6), Sammy (Year 1), Giovanni (EYFS), Nella (EYFS), Aiden (Year 2), Darcy (Year 2), Mickey (Year 5), Amelia (Year 5), Arian (Year 6), Niamh (Year 5), Charmaine (Year 4), Helena, Martha, Aby (Year 3), Jaron (Year 5), Faith (Year 5), Emer (Year 5), Freddie (Year 5), Zaynab and Oliver Stone (Year 3), Aderayoke and Adam (Year 3), Skye (Year 5), Ben (Year 5), Elsie (Year 3), Emily (Year 4), Vanessa Long (Year 3), Stanley (Year 3), Keelan and Louie (Year4).

You should be so proud of your achievements!

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EYFS Annual Programme

We were delighted to host fifteen Head Teachers and over thirty Early Years Practitioners at a Herts for Learning Course this week.  It is always lovely to show other educational professionals the incredible work going on at St Catherine’s - many of them commented on the wonderful manners displayed by our children.

NEW Jungle Library

Any Twitter followers will have seen a sneak preview of our exciting new library!  Although still in need of some final flourishes, it is ready for use by our pupils.  We have loved seeing the faces and hearing the comments of the groups which have had the opportunity to visit today.  We hope that lots of you will be able to attend our Open Day (time-slot booking to follow) to see for yourselves the changes to our learning environment. 

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Operation Outside Area

After a couple of years of fundraising, lots of planning and months of work by staff and the Currie family, Operation Outside is now in full-swing!  Our seven school-hatched chicks were this week joined by seventeen rescued ex-battery hens.  Our new arrivals are a great learning opportunity and it is lovely to know that they will be living in a happy, free-range home.  The hens have already laid eggs, which I am told taste delicious.  We are excited by the prospect of the children having the chance to make food from St Catherine’s eggs and even running their own after-school egg stall! 

Thank you again to the PTA for fundraising, to you for supporting our events and to the O’Malley and Currie families for helping to make this happen.  Particular thanks go to Jim Currie for spending numerous evenings and weekends welding gates, erecting fences, building chicken sheds and generally being the brains and brawn which have made Operation Outside a reality! 

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